Baked Cod with Bouillabaisse Sauce and Green Olive Tapenade

A wonderful sauce that is delicious with cod but would also be great with chicken. And you can make it ahead! It is elegant and exotic with the flavors of fennel, pernod, saffron. The recipe is from the April, 2017 issue of Food and Wine. I did not have **fish bones for the recipe so I skipped that step and added the water with a vegetable bouillon cube to make up for the fish bone stock.

6 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided up in recipe
1 large fennel bulb, 1 #, trimmed and finely chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 t. saffron threads
2 T. Pernod or Pastis
3/4 c. dry white wine
3/4 c dry vermouth (**I used white wine as I did not have but will get for the next time)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halved and smashed
1/2 t. cayenne
2 # white fish bones
2 t. lemon juice, plus more for drizzling
4 six ounce cod fillets
Green Olive tapenade

1/4 c, pitted brined or oil cured green olives, finely chopped

2 T. rinsed and drained capers, finely chopped

2 T. finely chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

In a large enameled cast iron casserole, heat 2 T of the olive oil. Add the fennel, leek, onion, celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Pernod and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and vermouth (**) and cook until the liquid is reduced by half about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cayenne and simmer over moderate heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet, and add the fish bones, cooking over moderate heat until browned, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bones to the casserole with 2 cups of water ad simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, covered. Let the sauce cool slightly and remove the fish bones. You can puree the sauce at this point with an immersion blender or leave as is.

Combine all ingredients for olive tapenade and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the fish with salt and refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. Heat remaining 2 T. olive oil in a ovenproof skillet and cook the fish until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes until opaque and cooked through.

Ladle the sauce into four shallow serving bowls and top with each fish. Spoon the tapenade over the fish and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.

San Francisco

I have just returned from the most wonderful weekend in San Francisco. I lived there 28 years ago for 2 years while working for my friends, Neil and Amy at We Be Bop, a clothing manufacturer based in Bali and Berkeley. I had never lived in a city of that size and enjoyed every bit of SF and CA and still treasure my memories.
I went to SF with my sister Meg and niece Joanie (lives in LA) to visit with my nephews and family. It did not disappoint. We stayed at the Hotel Vitale which is right across the street from the Ferry Building which is Mecca to me. We flew in on Thursday and things were quite civilized at the Ferry Building but the weekend was mayhem!
We had lunch at Americano, our hotel restaurant which was delicious. We walked along the Embarcadero to see where Epic Steak and Waterbar are located. We dined at Epic that night but only two of the group had steak. We had caesar salads, crab cakes, tortellini and the guys had filet and ribeye. The view of the lighted Bay Bridge is stellar.
My sister and I had breakfast in the hotel and when Joanie woke up we went to Tartine. I have read about Tartine for years and bought the first cookbook just for the gougeres recipe which is my favorite hors d’oeuvres to serve friends with wine. It was so impressive-I am still thinking about what a wonderful bakery they have-luckily we got there before the line was too long. It was well worth the wait. Joanie had a morning bun, Meg had an almond croissant and I had the savory croissant with bacon, fromage blanc, gruyere and herbs. I went to Hog Island for oysters while the girls shopped and found they had Olympia oysters that I had never tried. It was not busy and I sat at the bar and had a dozen Olympias with a lager. Delicious.

We ate at Leo’s oyster bar for lunch and Tartine Manufactory for dinner which was the highlight of the trip for me. Everything was exquisite and delicious. The fried Artichokes are killer and as is the bread and butter with a little bit of buttermilk-interesting. Warm olives were so good. I ordered the Petrale Sole which you can only find in SF. Alex ordered the Porchetta sandwich with salsa verde, Peter ordered the half chicken that was so good, Hannah and baby Asher had steak tartare and bone broth, Joanie had the octopus with nduja and lentils that was so good and Meg had the
steak. They all had the sticky date pudding with fior de latte ice cream for dessert. It was a stellar night. The restaurant is so beautiful- it is in the Heath Ceramic building in the Mission. If you don’t know about Heath, you should. Ceramics from Sausalito originally made in the 1950’s with exquisite glazes. I have been slowly collecting them for the last 30 years. There are lots of other wonderful artists and craftsmen the are in Heath and the tables at Tartine are so beautiful, obviously made by a talented local artisan.